Repurposing a photosynthetic antenna protein as a super-resolution microscopy label

Samuel F.H. Barnett, Andrew Hitchcock, Amit K. Mandal, Cvetelin Vasilev, Jonathan M. Yuen, James Morby, Amanda A. Brindley, Dariusz M. Niedzwiedzki, Donald A. Bryant, Ashley J. Cadby, Dewey Holten, C. Neil Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Techniques such as Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) and Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM) have increased the achievable resolution of optical imaging, but few fluorescent proteins are suitable for super-resolution microscopy, particularly in the far-red and near-infrared emission range. Here we demonstrate the applicability of CpcA, a subunit of the photosynthetic antenna complex in cyanobacteria, for STORM and SIM imaging. The periodicity and width of fabricated nanoarrays of CpcA, with a covalently attached phycoerythrobilin (PEB) or phycocyanobilin (PCB) chromophore, matched the lines in reconstructed STORM images. SIM and STORM reconstructions of Escherichia coli cells harbouring CpcA-labelled cytochrome bd 1 ubiquinol oxidase in the cytoplasmic membrane show that CpcA-PEB and CpcA-PCB are suitable for super-resolution imaging in vivo. The stability, ease of production, small size and brightness of CpcA-PEB and CpcA-PCB demonstrate the potential of this largely unexplored protein family as novel probes for super-resolution microscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16807
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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